In my work, I’ve discovered that most people know at least one person who has had a profound effect on them, whether it be a teacher, a family member or colleague. For me, that person was my grandmother Francesca.

My grandma wasn’t a woman who would be on YouTube these days. It’s unlikely that she’d be a guest on the Today show, or asked to pose for the cover of Vanity Fair. She was a proud, handsome woman of elegance and grace, who dressed with poise but not much flair.

However, she possessed a simple wisdom and an ability to see what a situation really called for, which was magnificent. It almost sounds silly now, but to my grandmother, a little red sauce could solve just about any problem that life had to offer. Somebody lost a job? “Ah, have some pasta. You’ll feel better.” Heartbreak called for the big guns: a homemade zabaglione, an Italian dessert, which could make my heart sing. And if I ever got hurt, first I’d get a kiss, then a little candy (the wrapper looking as if it had been through a boxing match) was pulled from the bottom of her voluminous black handbag. Her pocketbook could have been part of an anthropologic dig.

These days, Francesca’s brand of homegrown remedies are probably looked at as simplistic and corny; but in fact, it’s exactly what many of us need. After a stressful day of work, commuting, children, emails, and all the rest, wouldn’t it be wonderful to come home to grandma’s exquisite cuisine? Instead many families view dinner as “another thing to do!” Often take-out becomes the expedient way to handle it. But nothing, beats walking in the door after a long day at work and smelling something delicious cooking. In fact, research has shown that families who have dinner together several times a week have fewer substance abuse problems.

Is there somebody in your life who has had as profound effect on you as Francesca had on me? If so, it’s important to keep the energy of that relationship alive inside of you in whatever ways you can. If that person is still alive, contact him or her. Even if it’s someone you haven’t seen in years, imagine how powerful it would be for an old teacher, employer or friend to hear that they had an impact on your life. And maybe, just maybe, they’d still have wonderful, important, insightful things to add to your life.

If that person is no longer living, how can you keep their spirit alive? Maybe you can think of them when the going gets rough. Keep a photo handy of them. My grandmother Francesca resides in my heart and I know she’s up there somewhere with a purse full of old candies.

— Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. Visit her website at stressed.com.